Monday, 24 March 2014

Tuesday 25th March - Going Home

So that's it! Had an uneventful journey home. What a great trip it has been!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Sunday and Monday 23rd and 24th March - Waihi to Auckland

We had a gentle start today and enjoyed a Sunday morning at Waihi Beach relaxing in the sunshine.  After a fish and chip lunch wrapped in newspaper we took a gentle drive over to Mirranda Springs camp site on the Corramandal Peninsula.  The hot pool at the camp site is a real bonus for the site, think we may visit it in the morning too, before we leave for our final journey towards Auckland. 

At the campsite hot springs. Having a morning read and soak.

Killing our last bit of time on the beach before we head into Auckland.
Tony managed a haircut before the day was out as we got to Auckland early. Staying at a B&B near the airport. Having a last minute weigh in with our bike boxes and bought some more tape to make sure the boxes are as secure as we can make them.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Friday and Saturday 21st and 22nd March - Back at Waihi

We continued on to Jan and Terry's home in Waihi and arrived after a pleasant stop of at Katiati and then Waihi beach.  We remembered Katikati from when we were here in 2006 and recalled the wonderful murals in the town.  We took a few photos of the murals to compare with the similar ones we took way back in 2006.  On Saturday, we were able to take our time boxing the bikes before an afternoon of fun on the farms quad bike, the bulldozer and the digger.  Terry will be left to put our earth moving attempts in the field back to how it should be.  

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Thursday 20th March - Opotika to Omokoroa Thermal Hot Pools

No post yesterday as it was wash day and rest day. We set off today along the coast road. We stopped in a few places to enjoy the beaches although the dreaded sandflies are back which is such a shame. We arrived at our next holiday park at the hot pools at 14.05 and as we were not let in to our cabin until two o'clock, that was good timing. It is the best site we have been to for value for money. The cabin is low cost for what we got, it is clean and also got inclusive entry to the hot pools as often as we liked, that are part of the complex. Everywhere is supper clean, the site has really made the day (
On the road heading North.

Enjoying the beach but not the sandflies.

Real surfing waves.

Plus we have the beach to ourselves for miles.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Tuesday18th March - Mahai to Opotika

The day started a little cloudy as we drove back down the peninsula to get to the main road. There was plenty of time however to take a some photographs of this lovely area before we moved up the country.

Back on route 2 and as we found ourselves at Mahaka Hot Springs and only ten dollars each to get in we gave it a go.  We had the place to ourselves. It was very relaxing and there was a lovely short walk through rainforest to the upper pools.

We decided to not go around the East peninsula as it would add more miles to our journey north so we headed directly north on route 2 through the Wai Oe Ka Gorge. It was spectacular! Massive mountains towering high above us and all clad in dense rain forest. So so green everywhere yet before entering the gorge we had been climbing from the coast with yellow fields of crisp grass around us. I presume it's the rain shadow effect again but as we got over the summit the change from yellow to green is amazing. No photos of the Gorge were taken as we really needed a good wide angle lens and ideally I suspect, a helicopter to really show the scale of it all.
Here is just one photo as we were on our way up and over, where we stopped to have a snack in this parched landscape

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Monday 17th March - Napier to Mahai Beach

The cyclone is now out of the way and the tv was full of "did we overplay it?" chat. The forecast now is for hot and dry and as we are so far north now, that meant a high of 28C today.
We drove along route 2 gradually making our Northwards quest. Yesterday had not seen the opportunity for many stops, despite great dramatic views as we drove. Today we wanted to lower the pace but when driving it is always so easy to go through places rather than stop at them. We had looked up the route on 'great kiwi road' and it all sounded fantastic. We soon found ourselves bashing in the miles and when we did our first planned stop the viewpoint was closed due to logging activities.
We stopped at a cafe just before Waihua, Catherine had no pockets, so put the car keys in my shirt breast pocket. As we left we had a mad panic "where are the car keys" I emptied my pockets we searched the cafe. Ten minutes later I tapped my breast pocket! We are both getting really tired now, it's time for home.
We got to a turn off to the Mahia Peninsula and as we wanted to take things slow we decided to drive to the headland. At once the scenery was spectacular!! Limestone scenery like the peak district but with perfect blue skies and a torquise sea! No cars were behind us as usual so we went slow enjoying every new outlook. Fantastic beaches and roads following steep sided limestone dales. The road twisted and turned and dived high and low, one thing about a car you can just sit back whilst the engine does the hard work!
Eventually we got to a campsite. This area was so lovely and the lost keys incident proved we needed some down time. So we called in at a campsite and got a cabin at just gone midday! 
We spent the afternoon walking along the beach, which was vast and we had it all to ourselves. Then we spotted a landrover on the beach and it stopped near what we thought was a rock. When we got nearer we realised that it was a dead whale. The Department of Conservation guy said that they had tried to re float the whale the previous day but without success. It had been with a pup which was now nowhere to be seen. They have no idea why, but this beach gets about forty whales grounding per year which makes it one of the largest whale grounding beaches in the world. Mauri tribes believe a spell was put on the beach to provide plentiful whale meat in the past. The dead whale had had a Mauri blessing so it was then tied to the back of the DOC vehicle and dragged along the beach and away ready for burial. If we had been here yesterday we would have see the efforts to refloat the whale.

In the afternoon we followed the track to the end of the headland. Wow what views!

Near here, we saw a bird flying from fence post to fence post in front of us. It was a kingfisher and we stopped the car and watched it for ages sitting in a tree. Too far away for a good photo though!

We managed to find a remote bush walk which had a signpost to a viewpoint.  The walk was through really thick bush and we never found the viewpoint but enjoyed this unique stroll.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Sunday 16th March - Over to North Island, Napier

The weather is excellent for our crossing over Cook Strait to Wellington.  It's dry and warm and no significant swell nor wind.  Don't know what all the fuss was about with this supposed storm that was expected.  

Flat calm all the way, so no cyclone as predicted. Dolphins swam with the boat but we missed seeing them.
We headed for Napier North East along the spectacular route 2.  The massive gorges were delightful to ride although we both agreed this is a road that would be dangerous to cycle due to the number and speed of the logging trucks, narrow bridges, lack of a hard shoulder, hairpin bends and of course the serious inclines.  We are so pleased with our car, 'Beast', he had now been renamed 'Beasty'.